August 24, 2016 13:07
The record summer has brought outbreaks of salmonella poisoning and even Korea's first case of cholera in 15 years.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Tuesday said schools nationwide are reporting cases of salmonella food poisoning.
More than 500 students at five middle and high schools in northern Seoul came down with salmonella poisoning last week, as did more than 200 students at schools in North Gyeongsang Province, Daegu and Busan.
Seventeen cases of mass salmonella poisoning had been reported across the nation as of Tuesday, with 1,284 people infected. That was a 34-percent increase compared to last summer and up 52 percent compared to the 2011-2015 average.
Yoo Moo-young at the ministry said, "If food ingredients are exposed for just three hours in 36-degree temperatures, staphylococcus bacteria rise to dangerous levels."
Meanwhile a 59-year-old patient in Gwangju tested positive for cholera, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Health officials are investigating how he caught it.
The KCDC believes the patient contracted cholera from seafood he ate on a family holiday on the south coast earlier this month.
KCDC chief Chung Ki-seok said cholera infections require huge amounts of the bacteria, and the extreme heat appears to be stimulating their growth. "Temperature plays a key role in cholera bacteria formation," agreed Lee Keun-hwa at Jeju National University.
More than 2,000 people have succumbed to heatstroke, a record, and the heat has killed 16 people so far.
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